Vanuatu

This report contributes to the GEF PAS project "Prevention, eradication and control of invasive alien species in the Pacific islands". It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the Department of Environment Protection & Conservation, Vanuatu.

This Report reviews existing laws that are relevant to the regulation and management of invasive alien species. The Report identifies potential legislative gaps, omissions contained in these legislations. There is a clarification of the extent in which invasive alien species control measures take precedence

The Pacific islands of Oceania cover almost 15% of the world's surface and are characterised by a high degree of ecosystem and species diversity. The region is characterised by thousands of isolated small coral atolls and higher volcanic islands, which has led to the high diversity of species found today. In fact, the number of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth (endemic species) is extremely high - often up to 90% for particular groups. Often, these rare and endemic species are adapted to specialised habitats and limited to small areas of a few islands.

The Restoration of Ecosystem Services and Adaptation to Climate Change (RESCCUE) project is a regional project implemented by the Pacific Community. The overall goal of RESCCUE is to contribute to increasing the resilience of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) in the context of global changes. To this end RESCCUE aims at supporting adaptation to climate change (ACC) through integrated coastal management (ICM), resorting especially to economic analysis and economic and financial mechanisms.

Vanuatu is a Y-shaped archipelago located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean at 13-20o S, 166o – 172o E. There is a distance of roughly 1,300 km from northernmost island to the southernmost. The country’s coastline extends for 2,528 km long and comprises over 80 islands with a total land area of 12,336 km2 , set within a 200- mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of approximately 680,000Km2 . Vanuatu’s islands are geologically young and were formed during the four main volcanic activity periods.

Biological control of weeds in Vanuatu began in 1935, with the introduction of the tinged Teleonemia scrupulosa to control Lantana camara. To date, nine biological control agents have been intentionally introduced to control eight weed species. Seven of these agents have established on their respective hosts while an eighth, Zygogramma bicolorata, an agent for Parthenium hysterophorus has only recently been released and establishment is unlikely.

This island nation contains many marine eco-systems, from globally significant coral reefs to mangroves, seagrass areas, seamounts and deep-sea trenches supporting at least 769 fish species, including sharks and rays, as well as whales, dolphins and sea turtles.